Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 OCTOBER 2018

Are you Ready for Insta 75 Days Revision Plan (UPSC Prelims - 2020)?


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 OCTOBER 2018


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Cyclones”

1) What are the conditions necessary for formation of cyclones? Explain why cyclones that emerge in Bay of Bengal are much more destructive than the ones that emerge in Arabian Sea?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the essential requirements of atmospheric conditions that lead to formation of cyclones. Thereafter, based on those reasons we need to discuss why cyclones are more destructive in Bay of Bengal vis a vis Arabian Sea.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what cyclonic systems are

Body

  • Discuss the pressure, temperature etc which are required for the formation of a cyclonic system
  • Mention the reasons why cyclones are more destructive in Bay of Bengal vis a vis Arabian Sea
    • Temperature difference: The low pressure system of cyclone need continuous supply of heat energy and as the Bay of Bengal is warmer than Arabian sea, it is able to provide the heat energy needed to sustain the low pressure system.
    • Cyclones from Pacific ocean: The low pressure system originating from the pacific ocean also travel towards left to Bay of Bengal and hit the western coast from Bay of Bengal.
    • Peninsular Landmass: The cyclones originating from the Bay of Bengal side are not able to sustain while travelling above the peninsular landmass due to absence of energy of evaporation and weakens while reaching the Eastern coast.
    • Direction of the cyclones: The direction of the low pressure system are from right to left, hence the Arabian sea originating cyclones are not able to hit the coastal areas.

Background :-

  • Cyclone is any large system of winds that circulates about a centre of low atmospheric pressure in a counterclockwise direction north of the Equator and in a clockwise direction to the south.
  • Cyclonic winds move across nearly all regions of the Earth except the equatorial belt and are generally associated with rain or snow.
  • Also occurring in much the same areas are anticyclones, wind systems that rotate about a high-pressure centre. 

Conditions Favourable for Cyclone Formation:-

  1. Large sea surface with temperature higher than 27° C
  2. Presence of the Coriolis force enough to create a cyclonic vortex:-
    • The Coriolis force is zero at the equator(no cyclones at equator because of zero Coriolis Force) but it increases with latitude. Coriolis force at  latitude is significant enough to create a storm [cyclonic vortex].
    • About 65 per cent of cyclonic activity occurs between 10° and 20° latitude.
  1. Small variations in the vertical wind speed
  2. A pre-existing weak low-pressure area or low-level-cyclonic circulation
  3. Humidity Factor
    • High humidity (around 50 to 60 per cent) is required in the mid-troposphere, since the presence of moist air leads to the formation of cumulonimbus cloud.
    • Such conditions exist over the equatorial doldrums, especially in western margins of oceans (this is because of east to west movement of ocean currents), which have great moisture, carrying capacity because the trade winds continuously replace the saturated air.
  1. Upper divergence above the sea level system.
    • A well – developed divergence in the upper layers of the atmosphere is necessary so that the rising air currents within the cyclone continue to be pumped out and a low pressure maintained at the center.
  1. Low-level Disturbances
    • Low-level disturbance in the form of easterly wave disturbances in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) should pre-­exist.
  1. Temperature contrast between air masses
    • Trade winds from both the hemispheres meet along inter-tropical front. Temperature contrasts between these air masses must exist when the ITCZ is farthest, from the equator.
    • Thus, the convergence of these air masses of different temperatures and the resulting instability are the prerequisites for the origin and growth of violent tropical storms.
  1. Wind Shear
    • Wind Shear = differences between wind speeds at different heights
    • Tropical cyclones develop when the wind is uniform.
    • Because of weak vertical wind shear, cyclone formation processes are limited to latitude equator ward of the subtropical jet stream. 
    • In the temperate regions, wind shear is high due to westerlies and this inhibits convective cyclone formation.

Why are there more cyclones with greater destructive tendency in Bay of Bengal than Arabian sea

  • Both the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea experience cyclonic events, due to their proximity to the Indian Ocean, where cyclones are a common phenomenon. However, when the two are compared, the Bay of Bengal sees approximately five times as many cyclones as its Western
  • All the following factors make the Bay of Bengal the one of the most sensitive areas in the world when it comes to cyclones:-
    • Cyclones in the Bay are stronger and deadlier. Nearly 58% of cyclones formed in the Bay of Bengal reach the coast as compared to only 25% of those formed in the Arabian Sea.
    • Cyclones that form over the Bay of Bengal are either those developed insitu over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining Andaman Sea or remnants of typhoons over Northwest Pacific and move across south China sea to Indian Seas.
    • As the frequency of typhoons over Northwest Pacific is quite high (about 35 %of the global annual average), the Bay of Bengal also gets its increased quota.
    • In addition to all the above the Arabian Sea is relatively colder than Bay of Bengal and hence inhibits the formation and intensification of the system.
    • Since sea surface temperatures and humidity both directly correlate with chances of cyclone formation, the Bay of Bengal is a more likely target because it gets higher rainfall, and because the sluggish winds around it keep temperatures relatively high: about 28 degrees around the year. Warm air currents enhance this surface temperature and aid the formation of cyclones.
    • In addition, the Bay receives higher rainfall and constant inflow of fresh water from the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers. This means that the Bay’s surface water keeps getting refreshed, making it impossible for the warm water to mix with the cooler water below, making it ideal for a depression.
    • On the other hand, the Arabian Sea receives stronger winds that help dissipate the heat, and the lack of constant fresh water supply helps the warm water mix with the cool water, reducing the temperature.
    • But not all cyclones are formed in the Bay of Bengal. The basin is also host to cyclones that are formed elsewhere but move towards the water body, especially those formed in the Pacific Ocean.
      • Cyclones usually weaken if they encounter a large landmass. However, due to the lack of any such presence between the Pacific and the Bay, cyclonic winds easily move into the Bay of Bengal. Once here, the winds encounter the Western Ghats and the Himalayas, either becoming weak or getting blocked in the Bay, but never reaching the Arabian Sea.
    • Since high water and air temperatures are crucial to the formation and intensification of cyclones, they are most commonly reported, or expected, in summer. However, the Bay witnesses cyclones both pre-monsoon and post-monsoon.
      • The post-monsoon period sees a higher number of cyclones than the pre-monsoon period. This is because summers and pre-monsoons see dry and hot air moving from north-western India towards the Bay. This blocks the rise of air from the water, and the subsequent formation of clouds, preventing cyclone-friendly conditions. But the absence of this air movement in the post-monsoon phase increases the chances of cyclones.

General Studies – 2


Topic:Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

2) What are the factors responsible for criminalization of politics in India. DIscuss. (250 words)

The hindu

Reference

Why this question

Criminalization of politics, use of money and muscle power is a severe problem in Indian politics and there is an urgent need to address the issue as has been highlighted by the SC recently. It is therefore necessary to discuss the reasons behind the criminalization of politics in India.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the factors responsible for the criminalization of politics in India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines highlighting the situation of Indian politics in terms of criminalization- e.g Data from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) indicate that 179 out of the 543 elected Members of Parliament in the present Lok Sabha have some kind of criminal case pending against them.

Body-

Discuss in points the reasons as to why such criminalization is prevalent in Indian politics. E.g The use of muscle power along with money power is a weapon used by all political parties to maximise electoral gains; The constitution does not specify what disqualifies an individual from contesting in an election to a legislature. It is the Representation of People Act which specifies what can disqualify an individual from contesting an election. The law does not bar individuals who have criminal cases pending against them from contesting elections; With cases dragging in courts for years, a disqualification based on conviction becomes ineffective. Low conviction rates in such cases compounds the problem;  voters don’t mind electing candidates facing criminal cases. Voter behaviour then emboldens political parties to give tickets to such candidates who can win an election on their ticket etc.

conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • Criminalization of Politics means that the criminals entering the politics and contesting elections 
    and even getting elected to the Parliament and state legislature. 
  • Criminalisation of politics is the focus of public debate when discussion on electoral reforms takes place. 
  • The issue of candidates facing criminal charges getting elected to Parliament and State legislative Assemblies is often raised.
  • Data from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) indicate that 179 out of the 543 elected MPs in the present Lok Sabha have some kind of criminal case pending against them. 
  • In the case of over 100 MPs, the cases were of a very serious nature such as crimes against women and kidnapping.

Reasons why criminalisation of politics still exists in India:

  • Corruption:
    • In every election political parties  put up candidates with a criminal background.
    • Evident link between criminality and the probability of winning is further reinforced when winnability of a candidate is looked into. A candidate facing criminal charges is twice as likely to win as a clean candidate.
  • Vote Bank:
    • The political parties and independent candidates have astronomical expenditure for vote buying and other illegitimate purposes through these criminals.
  • Denial of Justice and Rule of Law:
    • Toothless laws against convicted criminals standing for elections further encourage this process. Under current law, only people who have been convicted at least on two counts be debarred from becoming candidates. This leaves the field open for charge sheeted criminals, many of whom are habitual offenders or history-sheeters.
    • Constitution does not specify what disqualifies an individual from contesting in an election to a legislature.
    • It is the Representation of People Act which specifies what can disqualify an individual from contesting an election. The law does not bar individuals who have criminal cases pending against them from contesting elections
  • Lack of governance:
    • The root of the problem lies in the country’s poor governance capacity. .
  • Scarcity of state capacity:
    • The scarcity of state capacity is the reason for the public preferring ‘strongmen’ who can employ the required pulls and triggers to get things done.
    • Criminality, far from deterring voters, encourages them because it signals that the candidate is capable of fulfilling his promises and securing the interests of the constituency.
  • No political party is free of this problem. The use of muscle power along with money power is a weapon used by all political parties to maximise electoral gains.
  • With cases dragging in courts for years, a disqualification based on conviction becomes ineffective. Low conviction rates in such cases compounds the problem;  voters don’t mind electing candidates facing criminal cases.
  • Voter behaviour then emboldens political parties to give tickets to such candidates who can win an election on their ticket etc

Way Forward :-

  • Law panel report bats for using the time of the framing of charges to initiate disqualification as an appropriate measure to curb the criminalisation of politics. 
  • Political parties should themselves refuse tickets to the tainted. 
  • The RPA Act should be amended to debar persons against whom cases of a heinous nature are pending from contesting elections. 
  • Bringing greater transparency in campaign financing is going to make it less attractive for political parties to involve gangsters
  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) should have the power to audit the financial accounts of political parties, or political parties’ finances should be brought under the right to information (RTI) law
  • Broader governance will have to improve for voters to reduce the reliance on criminal politicians.
  • Fast-track courts are necessary because politicians are able to delay the judicial process and serve for decades before prosecution.
  • The Election Commission must take adequate measures to break the nexus between the criminals and the politicians.
  • The forms prescribed by the Election Commission for candidates disclosing their convictions, cases pending in courts and so on in their nomination papers is a step in the right direction if it applied properly.
  • Addressing the entire value chain of the electoral system will be the key to solving the puzzle of minimising criminal elements from getting elected to our legislatures. This process would involve sensitising the electorate about the role and responsibility of the elected representatives. 
  • Political parties will have to be encouraged to have stronger inner party democracy to attract this new set of leaders to join the party. And finally, our judicial system will have to be overhauled drastically to ensure that justice is dispensed swiftly in all cases.

Topic–  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

3) E-governance has its own inherent limitations. Analyze in the context of India.(250 words) 

Reference

Why this question

The introduction of E-Governance is considered to be a necessity in a country like India. However there are several limitations of its application in India, which has certain unique social and economic conditions.

Directive word

Analyze-here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to delve deep into the issue and identify the limitations that e-governance and its application faces in india.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about e-governance- what it means and why it is important. E.g E-Governance is a stepping stone to a more civilized and organized nation. The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are acting as the backbone for the implementation of E-Governance. E-governance is expected to play a significant role in reducing red-tapism and give way for a better bureaucracy in India, with a promise to reduce corruption and bring transparency.

Body-

Discuss in detail the limitations of e-governance in India. E.g

  1. India currently has the largest illiterate population. This literacy rate is the reason that acts as a challenging task for the government to implement e-governance in the country.
  2. Lack of knowledge is another problem that exists in the country. The ignorance that persists should be abolished and awareness needs to spread among people in order to raise the level of knowledge and increase the rate of literacy.
  3. India is the second most unequal country in the world with the top 1% of the population owing nearly 60% of the total wealth. This imbalance of income will act as a major challenge for the government because there is still a very large part of the whole population that cannot even afford to spend money on satisfying their hunger.
  4. The implementation of e-governance will abolish the need for middlemen in government proceedings. The root of corruption in the system will act as a major challenge for the government to tackle.
  5. Reliability of internet and electricity.
  6. High investment needed etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background :-

  • E- governance is expected to play a significant role in reducing red-tapism and give way for a better bureaucracy in India, with a promise to reduce corruption and bring transparency. E-Governance is a stepping stone to a more civilized and organized nation. 

Limitations:-

  • Lack of Literacy and Knowledge:
    • India currently has the largest illiterate population. This literacy rate is the reason that acts as a challenging task for the government to implement e-governance in the country. 
  • Inequality of Income:
    • Inequality of Income plays an important role in proving as a challenge of e-governance. Imbalance of income will act as a major challenge for the government
  • Corruption:
    • Corruption is the root cause for the need of e-governance in India. High level of corrupt 
      practices in some public services in India is an obstacle for e-governance in India.
  • Resistance to Change :
    • There are people in the country who will welcome the implementation of e-governance, while on the other hand some would like to continue in the way the system had been working. 
  • Reliability of web:
    • The vulnerability to cyber crimes will raise the question of privacy issues in the mind of the public. There have been incidents in the past where the data collected got completely lost because of the unpredictable problems of the system. Such incidents can erode trust and user confidence in government systems. 
  • Higher Investments:
    • According to the data collected, India is spending about 3% of GDP to bring this information of web-based system. To introduce something that involves high cost is one of the prohibiting factors that come across e-governance.
  • Lack of matured technicians:
    • There is lack of matured technicians in the country who can advice the government on technical grounds. A good technician will not only help the government to reduce the cost of installation, but will also be able to handle the technical problems easily. 
  • Lack of qualified administrators:
    • There is a lack of qualified administrators in the country, who are not very techno-friendly.
  • Connectivity to backward areas:
    • Many parts of India are still not connected very well. The connectivity of e-governance to these areas will be challenging task for the government. 
  • Frequent changes in technology:
    • The e-governance depends on technology so it will be a challenge for the government to keep pace with every changing technology. There may be chances of the system to fail, if the technology is not updated.
  • Fear of meeting up the expectations:
    • Though the government may try to give its best to the public, there are chances that the government may not meet up the expectations of the public.

Way forward:-

  • Government should adopt various other effective projects and initiatives to eradicate ICT 
    illiteracy and emphasize on the need of digitalization. 
  • An initiation towards setting up of number of computer centers and kiosks is needed and also 
    training to people by setting up IT training centers in various parts of cities and villages is 
    This will help in building an information based society.
  • The government should launch various awareness programs, which will help people to know 
    the benefits of E-governance and will motivate them to accept the change. 
  • Government should encourage technology rich countries and companies to invest in the Indian 
  • Infrastructure is a crucial part of any country’s development. So, the government should work 
    on improving ICT infrastructure by providing Electricity and good Internet connection. 
  • Strategic framework for implementation of E-governance is needed.
  • It is important for the government to create a trust factor among the citizens by being consistent in taking feedback and undertaking corrective actions for the deviations.
  • Another important suggestion for the government is to hire highly professional technicians 
    who can easily curb any technical issue and keep the system updated. 
  • A support from the other political parties is also required to infuse E-governance in the system.

General Studies – 3


Topic–  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

4) India’s unique travel patterns imply that country specific and city level policies are necessary to address slow urban mobility. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

India has one of the slowest urban mobility in the world, riddled with congestion. However most of the times the problem is wrongly understood and sometimes also understated. In this context it is essential to understand the situation properly so that better policy decisions can be made.

Directive word

Critically analyze-here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to delve deep into the issue and bring out the challenges of urban mobility and the need for country specific and city level policies in order to address the challenges involved.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the problem of traffic congestion in India- e.g Traffic congestion has increased dramatically in India. Congestion and the associated slow urban mobility can have a huge adverse impact on both the quality of life and the economy.

Body-

  1. Discuss in detail about the problem of traffic mobility in India. E.g mobility is slow in most Indian cities. It is slow even outside the peak hours of traffic, and in both large and small cities. India’s mean travel speed across cities is just 24.4 km per hour, much slower than the mean travel speed globally. There are also big differences in mobility across cities in India. A factor of nearly two separates the fastest and slowest cities. These differences are driven by the differences in uncongested mobility, and not by differences in how congested they are; Travel speed starts declining early in the morning and recovers late in the evening.Longer trips are faster. Trips further away from the city centre are also faster. Congestion really matters close to the city centre, especially in the big cities. Weather characteristics such as rain, humidity, heat, and more windy conditions are associated with higher travel speeds; Non-transportation uses of the roadway do slow down motorized vehicles etc.
  2. Discuss the need for country specific and city level policies in order to address slow urban mobility. E.g Standard policy recommendations such as congestion pricing or other types of travel restrictions may do little to improve mobility. Instead, potentially costly travel infrastructure investments may be the only way to improve uncongested mobility. Better uncongested mobility generally correlates with the process of faster economic growth;  More primary roads and regular grid patterns are associated with faster urban mobility etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background :-

  • Traffic congestion has increased dramatically in India. Congestion and the associated slow urban mobility can have a huge adverse impact on both the quality of life and the economy.

Urban mobility in India :-

  • Mobility is slow in most Indian cities. It is slow even outside the peak hours of traffic, and in both large and small cities.
  • India’s mean travel speed across cities is just 24.4 km per hour, much slower than the mean travel speed of 38.5 km per hour in metropolitan cities in the US. There are also big differences in mobility across cities in India
  • The multi-purpose nature of urban transport also impacts urban mobility in India.
    • Roads in cities are multi-purpose public goods, used by various classes of motorized and non-motorized vehicles to travel and park, as well as a wide variety of other users such as street-sellers, children playing and animals.
  • Non-transportation uses of the roadway do slow down motorized vehicles.
  • Travel speed starts declining early in the morning and recovers late in the evening.
  • Longer trips are faster. Trips further away from the city centre are also faster.
  • Congestion really matters close to the city centre, especially in the big cities.
  • Weather characteristics such as rain, humidity, heat, and more windy conditions are associated with higher travel speeds.

Reasons for slow urban mobility in India:-

  • Slow urban mobility in India is primarily due to cities being slow all the time, rather than congested at peak hours.
  • However, congestion is not a nationwide problem.
    • It is concentrated near the centre of the largest Indian cities. Given their importance to the Indian economy, these areas with the highest levels of congestion, such as the city centres of Kolkata and Bengaluru, should be the focus of policy efforts to alleviate congestion.
  • Indian cities do not experience the familiar twin peak congestion pattern experienced in the UK and the US, due to morning and evening commutes. There is almost no distinct morning peak instead, there is a slow buildup of congestion that often persists until late into the evening. These unique patterns are consistent with Indian roads being multi-purpose public goods that serve a wide variety of use other than motorized transport that slow down travel.

 

Why specific policies are required :-

 

  • Standard policy recommendations such as congestion pricing or other types of travel restrictions may do little to improve mobility. Instead, potentially costly travel infrastructure investments may be the only way to improve uncongested mobility.
  • Better uncongested mobility generally correlates with the process of faster economic growth.
  • More primary roads and regular grid patterns are associated with faster urban mobility.
  • Investment needed to make roads to handle any weather conditions. Investment in urban transport also plays an important role in influencing property prices.
  • Land value taxes have huge potential to scale up urban mobility as well as maximize finance for development.
  • People in cities are more productive, more innovative, and have higher skills. In other words, apart from increased personal mobility, there is also need to anticipate faster urbanisation as economic growth accelerates.

Topic – Indian agriculture

5) Trade and marketing policies of India have inflicted a huge negative price support to Indian farmers. Critically Analyze. (250 words) 

Financial express

Why this question

The article talks about a recent ICRIER study which shows that the effect of governmental support for farming sector through subsidies is not having the impact that’s expected of such policies. The article also highlights the steps suggested which can help in better management of farming sector. The issue would help us in understanding the impact of government’s policies in a much better way.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out an answer to the following points

  • The kind of policies undertaken by the government in focus here
  • The impact of such policies – both the good and the bad
  • Discuss the alternatives which are likely to have a much greater impact on the welfare of farming sector
  • Give a fair and balanced view and discuss way forward

Directive word

Critically analyze –

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give a brief background of why trading and marketing policies are so important for the farming sector

Body

  • Discuss the nature of trading and marketing policies being followed so far – APMC, MSP etc
  • Discuss the impact that such policies have had on the farming sector – both good and bad. Highlight the findings of the report of ICRIER Committee.
  • Mention the alternatives which are likely to benefit farmers in a more effective and sustainable way such as the focus on agricultural research and extension services etc

Conclusion – Based on the arguments made above, give a fair and balanced opinion on the nature of agricultural trade and marketing policies and discuss the way forward.

Background :-

  • The main policy instruments to support farmers in India include subsidised fertiliser, power, agri-credit and crop insurance on the input side, and minimum support prices for major crops on the output front. But a recent study done jointly by OECD and ICRIER estimated that trade and marketing policies of India have inflicted a huge negative price support to Indian farmers.

Trade policies of India negative impact :-

  • According to the OECD study the producer support estimate (PSE) for India works out to be a negative 14% of gross farm receipts for the period 2000-01 to 2016-17, primarily because of restrictive export policies (minimum export prices, export bans or export duties) and domestic marketing policies (due to Essential Commodities Act, APMC, etc).
  • India has a fragmented market and trade restrictions due to provisions and use Essential commodity act, stockholding limit and Agriculture produce marketing committee (APMC) act.
  • Phasing Out Pro-Consumer Bias
    • Protecting domestic prices from global trends has been a major factor behind India’s stringent agricultural trade policies.
    • Concerns:-
      • However, a recent ICRIER and World Bank study pointed out that global price trends, through multiple conduits, transmit into domestic markets.
      • The study concluded that bans and restrictions only defer the transmission. But global and domestic prices eventually converge in the medium to longer run. Thus, while farmers lose the timely opportunity to explore global markets, the main aim of restrictive policies, which is to protect domestic prices, is also not fully met. A gradual phasing out of consumer bias in trade policies will enable farmers to explore suitable opportunities in global markets.
    • Developing an Effective Policy on Stock Management
      • An effective policy on stock management of food grains will eliminate overstocking situations and make these quantities available for exports ‘in the normal course.’
      • In July 2012, the Centre approved the export of two million tonnes of wheat to dispose off excess stock and make space available for the forthcoming kharif crop. With a proper food management policy in place, excess stock can be utilised for immediate export and cases of distress exports can be avoided.
      • Even the WTO recently asked India to expedite the overhaul of food grains inventory management so that the need for exports from public stockholding of these items can be obviated.
    • India’s trade policy in agriculture has a pro-consumer bias which implicitly taxes farmers by placing export restrictions on different crops, said a joint study released by The World Bank and Delhi-based Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).

Marketing policies failure:-

  • Marginal returns on subsidies are way below those from investments. The results show that expenditure incurred on agri-R&E (research and education), roads or education are 5 to 10 times more powerful in alleviating poverty or increasing agri-GDP than similar expenditure made on input subsidies. 
  • Over time a rapid increase in input subsidies has squeezed public investments in agriculture. Excessive input subsidies have caused large scale inefficiencies in the agri-system.
    • For example, fertiliser subsidies, especially on urea, have led to an imbalanced use of soil nutrients.
  • Subsidies on irrigation water have resulted in the inefficient use of scarce water.
  • Highly subsidised power to agriculture has led to over-exploitation of ground water. Subsidies on interest rates on crop loans has diverted substantial amounts of agri-credit to non-agricultural usage.
  • Although the new crop insurance scheme, PMFBY, has dramatically reduced the burden of premiums that are paid by farmers, its effective implementation and quick settlement of claims into farmers accounts remains a challenge.
  • Weak Producer – Consumer Linkages:
    • There is a disconnect amongst what the Indian farmer produces and what the consumer demands. The farmer is not connected to aggregators, food processors and retail chains to help shape the nature of his produce.
    • As a result, produce remains the same annually, largely dependent on farmers and is often driven by the government’s MSP program. 
  • Weak Supplier Power:
    • The farmer is barely empowered as a supplier. He continues to be small & marginal, inadequately resourced, ill-informed on markets and marketing, ill-equipped to manage risk, burdened with credit & debts and is dependent on traders to reach the buyers.
  • Agriculture market is primarily governed by APMC act.
    • The dominant role of middlemen among others is primarily responsible for farmers not realising a reasonable price for their produce, lowering farm income and profitability.

Way forward :-

  • Developing a policy on processed and value-added food exports can help India capture the expanding global market.
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food & Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) recent report forecast a declining global prices outlook for India’s major agriculture export commodities like rice, sugar and cotton among others. This, along with a need to increase agricultural exports, calls for a diversification of the country’s export basket.
  • Agriculture focused Export Oriented Units (EOUs):-
    • Domestic policies like MSP, rather than the global demand-supply scenario, are driving farmers’ sowing decisions. A policy that focuses on developing Agricultural EOUs can help India overcome this trend and increase its export basket.
    • These EOUs can focus on agricultural products that have a high demand in global markets, even if they are not consumed locally in large quantities. The successes of shrimp and beef exports are good examples on which to lay the foundation for such policies.
  • Supporting Pulses and Oilseeds Production:-
    • Domestic support, in the form of government procurement and reactive foreign trade policies, is required for oilseeds and pulses. Policy support will ensure a consistent increase in area sown and production, thereby reducing the country’s reliance on imports.
  • Developing Agricultural Infrastructure:-
    • India lags in the area of agricultural infrastructure, an effective policy for which will enhance crop production and yields. Greater production will enhance exports. Increased production of oilseeds and pulses will help reduce the agricultural import bill.
    • An infrastructure development policy along with crop production will also provide support to the processed and value-added food products industry (e.g. better cold-chain facilities).
  • Parting Thoughts :-
    • Effective agricultural trade policy will ensure better incomes to Indian country’s farmers. They will also assist the government in achieving the goal of doubling farmer incomes by 2022.
  • The smarter way to support agriculture and alleviate rural poverty would have been to invest in agriculture at a faster rate than the growth of subsidies.
  • The present system of delivering subsidies through a price policy needs to be shifted to an income policy which would be well targeted and minimise leakages, something along the lines of the JAM trinity.
  • Investments need to be prioritised towards agri-R&D, roads and education :-
    • Interestingly now at a global level the private sector is leading in agri-R&D. If India needs to access that technology, it needs to develop a proper IPR regime which is in the interest of farmers as well as investors.
    • India has a lesson to learn from China in this aspect too. ChemChina, a PSU, has taken over Syngenta Corporation for $43 billion, which is a leading player in crop protection and seeds.
  • Comprehensive vision document to promote and establish direct linkages between growers and consumers:
    • A policy framework that promotes structured, direct linkages between professional aggregators, food chain collaborators, food processors with large FPOs/Land Banks will reduce uncertainties drastically. This will ensure a fair share of the value created at the terminal end insuring the farmer from concentrated risk.
  • ICRIER study recommended a host of policy reforms such as phasing out the built-in consumer bias, create space for private players to have access to integrated markets, and using income transfers to protect both poor consumers and small farmers. It also suggested creating a predictable and stable trade policy.
  • Committee on Doubling Farmers Income under the chairmanship of Ashok Dalwai has recommended :-
    • Rolling out the model Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act 2017 which would facilitate single-point levy of taxes
    • Promote direct interface between farmers and end-users
    • Give freedom to farmers to sell their produce to whomsoever and wherever they get better prices.

General Studies – 4


Topic– Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators.

6) “Gandhian ethics of social and political reconstruction are more relevant than ever, since they represent an act of self-transformation of humanity rather than an illusory dream of a political leader”. Discuss. (250 words)

The Hindu

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the Gandhian ethics of social and political reconstruction and discuss in detail as to how they are more relevant today than ever.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the role of Gandhi- e.g Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a man of spiritual truthfulness and democratic action, both at the public and personal levels, with a unique method of struggle that combined political pragmatism with ethical integrity.

Body-

Discuss in detail about the Gandhian ethics of social and political transformation and how they are relevant today. E.g Gandhi wanted to change the values that govern the social, political and economic activities in human society. Significantly, Gandhi believed that decentralised politics and an egalitarian economy function better at the level of micro-communities, where citizens can operate in relations of reciprocity and mutuality. For Gandhi it was clear that neither society nor the individual can live without a moral vision of the world etc.

Discuss the present situation in India and the need for forwarding the local self government in Indian villages, particularly in North Indian, Central, Eastern and NE India; discuss the inequality in access to resources in India and how Gandhian ethics of an egalitarian economic society are relevant today etc.

Conclusion– sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.

 

Background :-

In Gandhi’s autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, one can find the idea that life is nothing but a spiritual experience with truth, and a struggle against all forms of untruth and injustice. As such, Gandhi claimed that his life was his message, simply because he extended his practice of satyagraha to all walks of life.

The main pillars of Gandhi’s philosophy were non-violence, tolerance of others, respect for all religions and a simple life.

Gandhian ethics:-

  • Truth :-
    • Gandhi, in short, was a leader looking for a spiritual cause. He found it, of course, in his non-violence and, ultimately, in independence for India. Truth, Satya, was the central axis of the Gandhian system of thought and practice.
    • For Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, everything turned on Truth – satyagraha, swaraj, ahimsa, ashram, brahmacharya, yajna, charkha, khadi, and finally, moksha itself.
    • Gandhi’s life and ideas arranged around the axial principle of Truth.
  • Secular :-
    • Gandhi made great use of the Bible in his prayers, teachings, writings and Ashram liturgies. He was often accused of being a crypto-Christian.
    • However, he flatly refused to give preference to the Vedas over the Bible. He is no Sanatani Hindu who is narrow, bigoted and considers evil to be good if it has the sanction of antiquity and is to be found supported in any Sanskrit book.
    • As such, Gandhi considered interculturalism as a call for simultaneous awareness of commonalities, acceptance of differences, and recognition of shared values.
  • Social political significance :-
    • There is more to Gandhi which makes him a political thinker and a relevant social reformer. Gandhi was a dialogical thinker who was open to other horizons of thinking.
    • He firmly believed that the spirit of genuine reciprocity and solidarity is not just a moral requirement, but also a geopolitical necessity.
    • Gandhi rejected the idea that there is one privileged path to god. He also believed that all religious traditions are an unstable mixture of truth and error.
    • He encouraged inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, so that individuals could see their faith and culture in a comparative and critical reflection of the other.
    • Gandhi wanted to change the values that govern the social, political and economic activities in human society.
    • Gandhi believed that decentralised politics and an egalitarian economy function better at the level of micro-communities, where citizens can operate in relations of reciprocity and mutuality.
    • For him, it was clear that neither society nor the individual can live without a moral vision of the world. Gandhi had his moral and political dreams of changing humanity.
    • In Gandhi’s political thinking, the experience of freedom derives not only from constitutional rights but mainly from the diverse modes of participation of the individual in a common humanity.
    • Indian democracy survived and became stronger over the years only because India had Mahatma Gandhi and his message that the answer to violence does not lie in violence; that hatred should not be countered by hatred is applicable to India due to the harmony among different communities.
    • Mahatma Gandhi and his values have become more relevant for today’s society which is under turmoil and suffering from social evils, corruption, terrorism and violence.
    • From Gandhi, the youth can learn to be resolute and focused towards their purpose despite all hardships.
    • Gandhian technique of mobilising people has been successfully employed by many oppressed societies around the world under the leadership of people like Martin Luther King in the United States, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and now Aung Saan Sun Kyi in Myanmar, which is an eloquent testimony to the continuing relevance of Mahatma Gandhi.

Conclusion:-

  • There are ample events and incidents insisting that we can continue to consult Gandhi on all manner of issues that may trouble our individual or collective conscience.
  • Truth is the key to Gandhi’s philosophy, and we rely on Gandhi even decades after his death and long after his supposed lapse into political irrelevance.To be sure, Gandhi certainly deserves the honour as a courageous fighter, a deep thinker, and a great leader of men and ideas.